I recently asked the following question: https://sports.stackexchange.com/questions/5602/how-many-injuries-would-be-prevented-by-banning-slide-tackles

In order to narrow down the question, I provided an initial background into the question, broke it down into two smaller sub-questions, and suggested a conclusion that could be drawn from from the answers to the sub-questions and subsequently used to answer the question as a whole.

The two sub-questions asked for clearly-defined, statistical, evidence-based answers, in order to prevent close votes for being "primarily opinion-based". Surprisingly, even though the question had a clearly-defined, narrow scope, it was closed as being "too broad".

How is the question too broad, and if it is not too broad, is the closing of the question simply a reflection of the downvoters'/closers' inability and/or lack of desire to provide an answer?

  • A recent and similar question with a similar fate found here: meta.sports.stackexchange.com/questions/533/…
    – user527
    Commented Aug 27, 2014 at 13:33
  • 1
    In regards to the statement, "is the closing of the question simply a reflection of the downvoters'/closers' inability and/or lack of desire to provide an answer?" There were five close votes from the community. That reflects the closing of the question. As far as the downvoters "inability and/or lack of desire," that is their right to use their downvotes as they please, but it should ideally align with how downvotes are to be used.
    – user527
    Commented Aug 27, 2014 at 13:45

2 Answers 2


It's obviously been opened again, and I'm certainly not capable of casting close votes, but I would suggest one reason that's been left out of the discussion:

Too broad includes the reason "Good answers would be too long for this format".

When I read that question, it certainly sounds interesting to me, but it seems to me that it's more of a master's thesis than a StackExchange question. Some of the other posters are noting that it is more than trivial research/expertise, which should not be the bar for closing a question in this regard; but given this is the sort of thing that would probably be a front-page article on fivethirtyeight.com, I could imagine weeks of work being required to answer it.

Realistically, you'd probably have to do a large-scale analysis of football matches, possibly including viewing the matches to identify specific slide tackles (I don't believe data for every match even at the higher levels of the sport are sufficiently detailed to report the proportion of tackles that are slide tackles, for example); and even if you could obtain these ready-made, you'd need to identify a model for projecting what proportion of slide tackles would still be made under a new rule, probably identify flops (to remove them from the 'penalized' equation), etc., all for a StackExchange question.

That sounds like it would certainly be too long for this format to me.

  • Skeptics SE has a similar format to Sports SE. I'd argue that this question: skeptics.stackexchange.com/questions/23136/… requires the same level of research (if not a higher level) followed by a conclusion being drawn. If this question doesn't work here, perhaps it would be a better fit for Skeptics SE? Commented Sep 8, 2014 at 2:38
  • I don't agree that those are similar levels of research by any means. I guess it largely depends on whether the question is so specific that it likely requires original work, or if it is likely to be a request for whether some study already has been done. I could see this either way, but I tend to think that particular question is unlikely to have been answered already due to the 3 part specific nature. The skeptics question you link to was answered clearly by an already published work - and even that article required much less work than this question would.
    – Joe Mod
    Commented Sep 8, 2014 at 2:46
  • I believe the first and second parts have already been answered is academic studies - all that is required is to combine the results from these studies and draw a conclusion for the third part. Commented Sep 8, 2014 at 2:54
  • Then why don't you post links to these studies as part of the question (or, answer your own question)?
    – Joe Mod
    Commented Sep 8, 2014 at 3:00
  • @Joe If this question requires a lot to answer, what are your thoughts on this question or this question?
    – user527
    Commented Sep 8, 2014 at 13:04
  • The first question is a very good question. It's much more answerable than this one: it includes the data in the question, for one. Also, even if it did require substantial research, it wouldn't require nearly as much as this.
    – Joe Mod
    Commented Sep 8, 2014 at 16:21
  • The second question I don't like as much, although it might reasonably be answerable in a short answer because there are lots of available data on 'calories X activity takes' - like livestrong.com/article/… for example. I don't think it's a great question, though, because it's too complicated in how it's presented, with too many sub-questions, and a lot of the user's opinion stuck in where it doesn't really belong.
    – Joe Mod
    Commented Sep 8, 2014 at 16:23
  • I do want to emphasize that with this answer I'm not saying "this question ought to be closed for Too Broad". I'm saying "this is probably why it was closed for Too Broad", and that it's a reasonable reason to do so. Personally I think it won't be answered here, because of why I stated in my answer here - the answer would be too complicated to construct given the data I see out there - and because the third question is not really objectively answerable, I don't think. But 'likelihood to be answered' may or may not be a good reason to close a question.
    – Joe Mod
    Commented Sep 8, 2014 at 16:26
  • Thanks. One of my pet peeves is inconsistency. The challenge is to address these questions appropriately and accordingly.
    – user527
    Commented Sep 8, 2014 at 19:25
  • @edmastermind29 I think one thing you should consider is that this site is still in beta, and from what I can tell isn't all that close to moving out of beta. As part of that, this is the stage where we answer those kinds of questions largely by seeing how people vote, and having threads like this. It's perfectly fine that we have two nearly identical questions, one closed one not - after a while, we have that discussion and resolve it.
    – Joe Mod
    Commented Sep 8, 2014 at 19:39
  • My opinion in terms of the site: this is not a sufficiently mature site to realistically have questions with this difficult of answers in it, because we don't have sufficient numbers of sufficiently dedicated answerers yet. For a mature site (skeptics is a great example), this question would be better, because you'd have some experts. However, as we don't, it's just going to be an annoying unanswered question, and will drag the site down to some extent. It's not necessarily bad to leave it open for a while, but at some point closing it is probably the better option.
    – Joe Mod
    Commented Sep 8, 2014 at 19:40
  • 1
    @Joe I've moderated here for two years now. I'm well aware of where we stand and where we have come from as a community. The trends over that period of time have been charted on many meta and chatroom discussions. The point I am addressing is that now the community is taking a more active role in speaking up, which is only a good thing for our community as a whole. In order to resolve discussions, there must be community involvement, and up until recently, it has been the same few users with activity on meta. Again, a step in the right direction.
    – user527
    Commented Sep 8, 2014 at 19:44

I speak only for me, not the other posters, and it was not I who labelled it opinion-based or too broad.

It is primarily a question requiring, as you say, non-trivial research. What's stopping you doing the research? Why expect/ask others to do so?

On this site, if people are unable or unwilling to answer, they simply ignore the question and move on. When people comment on your question, it's in an effort to get it answered for you, by improving it or requesting explanation.

  • 2
    I disagree with the statement, "What's stopping you doing the research? Why expect/ask others to do so?" There are many questions here that require some sort of expertise (and/or most times, research) to formulate an adequate and accurate answer. The OP did his part in providing background for the question, so was it wrong for him to expect someone on here with some background/knowledge/expertise of his sport/subject matter to provide an answer?
    – user527
    Commented Aug 27, 2014 at 13:28
  • 1
    This question required some research as did this question as I did not know the reason behind each circumstance, although I was previously familiar with each concept. Were they wrong to ask? What's stopping them from doing the research? Why did they expect/ask others to do so? Because this is an expert Q&A site and there are others here who are interested and have enough knowledge and such to provide an answer.
    – user527
    Commented Aug 27, 2014 at 13:31
  • I believe that if you need an explanation, you ask, but if you want a full research analysis, you do it yourself. The world is full of different opinions - I expressed mine, you've expressed yours, and I'm happy to agree to differ.
    – TrueDub
    Commented Aug 27, 2014 at 13:38
  • 1
    That's fine. I don't believe the question asks for a "full" research analysis, but perhaps, as you say in the original question, a set of objective statistics to support/disprove his theory. That is similar to the nature of this question. Thanks for your opinion and response.
    – user527
    Commented Aug 27, 2014 at 13:42

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